Life as a referee: Former SL ref Ian Smith on abuse, why he quit and what it’s like being a full-time official | The Last Tackle #2

What’s it like being a referee? How do you deal with the abuse? And do they do day to day?

Love Rugby League’s James Gordon and Drew Darbyshire are joined by former Super League referee Ian Smith and gain some fascinating insight on the life of a match official, as well as talk about some of the key moments from the first round of fixtures.

Smith speaks candidly about an incident in what turned out to be his final game as a referee which required the police to drive his car to get him out of the ground safely.

He tells us about the routine of a full-time referee and how they prepare for games.

We touch on Smith’s work now as a State of Mind presenter, where he uses his experience to deliver mental health sessions in the rugby league community and beyond.

And Drew and Ian give their predictions for round two of Super League, as well as taking on the 13 quick-fire questions.

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About Josh McAllister 1520 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

1 Comment

  1. Play the balls!?

    What happened to the techincal side of coaching the ‘snap, sweep, touch’? As a former coach at all age groups from under 8’s to open age, it’s what we all coached as the quickest way to play the ball. Are our younger players now being coached to roll it back with the hand?

    Make the players actually touch the ball with the foot! They do it in (dare I say it) the NRL. This roll back/step over method is just plain cheating. ‘Making an attempt’ is a complete cop-out. Surely that interpretation could be applied to say forward passes when ‘making an attempt’ to pass it backward? It’s not deliberate but it’s a skill which the player has got wrong and rightly so is pulled up. Just as the skill of playing the ball if not executed correctly should be penalised.

    Compared to the NRL our ruck area has become really messy and is not a good look at all. I feel for the referee who has to watch everything in a second or two. I think the pocket referee, without whistle, or an assistant is the answer but one who looks for ruck incidents and just tips off the main referee who makes all the decisions.

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